Darron Gee, the other half of the York City managerial axis, reveals his FA Trophy revenge drive to DAVE FLETT.

YORK City assistant manager Darron Gee cannot wait to walk out at Wembley nine years on from his last FA Trophy final experience.

Gee guided Tamworth to the 2003 final after taking over the managerial reins from old pal and current City chief Gary Mills, who had left to take up a coaching position with Coventry.

The Lambs were beaten 2-1 by Burscough at Villa Park while the national stadium was being redeveloped and Gee admits he is relishing the opportunity to have another bash at winning the competition but, this time, under the world-famous arch.

He said: “A place like Wembley is why we are all in football – it makes the hairs on your neck stand on end. When we played at Villa Park, it was a fantastic occasion but you want to play at Wembley when you reach the final.

“It was not to be that time but to get a second chance is fantastic and I am really looking forward to it.”

Sharing the moment with Mills will also make the 2012 final all the more special for Gee.

Aside from that brief separation during the 2002/3 season, Gee has been Mills’ trusted lieutenant for most of the last 16 years.

Starting out together with Grantham in 1996, the pair teamed up at King’s Lynn, Notts County and Alfreton, as well as during two different spells at Tamworth, before taking charge at Bootham Crescent in the autumn of 2010.

“We’ve been mates as well as working buddies for a long, long time so sharing the Wembley experience together will mean everything,” Gee confessed. “It will be the culmination of a lot of hard work.

“We knew when we came to York that it is was a big opportunity to do well at a decent club.”

Gee also believes the group of players that have been assembled at Bootham Crescent this season are the best he and Mills have worked with, bettering those that were at Notts County during the pair’s only foray into Football League management in 2004.

On the books at Meadow Lane then were the likes of talented strikers Shaun Harrad and Chris O’Grady, as well as Mike Whitlow – a top-flight title winner with Leeds in 1991 – and David Pipe, who will be in Newport’s side on Saturday.

Comparing the two squads, Gee said: “This one is far better – there’s no doubt about that. We were victims of circumstance at Notts County.

“We went in there just after the club had come out of administration and we had three or four players. We had to sign 11 or 12 but, within four or five months, we had lost our jobs and you cannot get anything to gel in that time.

“I think pound for pound and player for player, this team are a better group and I just hope they get the chance to prove that by performing to the best of their abilities at Wembley. To do that, the biggest thing is to get them relaxed so they can play the football they have done week in, week out through the season.”

Gee joined Mills at Notts County in May 2004 after the latter had failed to halt the team’s slide into League Two.

By November of that year, though, both men were relieved of their duties and Gee believes that experience led to an unfair black mark on both of their CVs that has proven difficult to erase.

With City’s achievements this season, though, Gee has been delighted that Mills’ managerial reputation has been fully restored.

“What happened at Notts County devastated us both,” Gee admitted. “We had always been successful until then.

“When we first got together, Gary said from day one that we would manage Notts County one day. They were his old club but we were only given five months in the job and I would be lying if I said that didn’t knock us back.

“It got to the point where we wondered whether it was worth going on – it was that bad. But you slowly get back into it and get your enthusiasm back.

“When an opportunity came to come to a magnificent club like York – a Football League club really – I knew everybody would see Gary grow and grow. Sometimes, it takes longer than you would like to get where you want to be.

“Some people have names that help them get jobs and others are just on the managerial merry-go-round forever. I’m so pleased now that everybody can see what Gary’s all about.

“He’s a League manager – there’s no doubt about that.”

Despite his admiration for Mills, though, Gee does not agree with all of his friend’s views and regards an ability to challenge the manager’s opinion as one of the key reasons that their partnership continues to flourish.

On his beliefs of the attributes required from an assistant, Gee said: “My job is to liaise between the players and manager and take training sometimes if Gary wants a breather or wants to sit back and see what’s going on. The majority of it we do together but, knowing him as I do, I know when to offer to take training, mostly just by looking at his face.

“Something might have gone off that means he’s not in the best of moods and, basically, I will do all the stuff that means Gary can get on with running a good football club. But I will never be a yes man to Gary and I think he likes that.

“I will disagree with him and say let’s do it a different way and, while it’s ultimately his decision the way we go, we bounce ideas off each other. A good number two is like a schoolboy – they should be seen but not heard and my job is to get on with things.

“Even though I’ve been a number one, I have no intentions to be a manager. I enjoy working as Gary’s number two and you have to have that relationship.

“You don’t want somebody trying to steal your thunder all the time and that’s definitely not the case with myself. We have a great relationship inside and outside of football.

“Football can be stressful and it helps if you can go out and relax together as well.”